“Does hypnotherapy work?” is one of the top questions we’re asked here at the Wellness Institute. Some of those who ask have been misled by myths or misconceptions about hypnotherapy. Others simply don’t have all the information they need to reach that conclusion.
Despite our more than 30 years’ educational experience, we’ve always found that those who have experienced firsthand the benefits of hypnotherapy can best answer this question.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few client success stories that offer their own perspective on just how effective hypnotherapy can be.
A CNN story centered on a woman who was 5-foot-6 and weighed 287 pounds, and underwent “hypnosis gastric bypass” under the supervision of a hypnotherapist in 2007. The “procedure” is exactly what it sounds like: essentially a visualization of the surgical process, from meeting the doctor to leaving the hospital afterward.
The hypnotherapist explains that after the visualization, “the mind believes the stomach is smaller,” and therefore the appetite is smaller, too. The patient, Julie Evans, experienced immediate results after her first session: “After her first session, Evans said she started craving spinach. By the next day, she said she was eating a quarter of what she had before.”
She began losing weight immediately, and with ongoing commitment to hypnotherapy, continued to lose weight and keep it off. After two years, she reached her goal weight of 150 pounds (nearly half her original body weight). She has maintained this weight for more than three years — and has reclaimed the life she felt her additional weight was holding her back from.
In a patient testimonial from a typical hypnotherapy practice, a 47-year-old man enrolled in a Canadian university described his anxiety around exams and tests. He found that he was anxious and unable to cope with the pressure of testing; he simply couldn’t concentrate on the task at hand, and made silly mistakes on tests as a result.
Through hypnotherapy, the man discovered issues from his past that were preventing him from believing he could be successful in school:
Since my childhood I have always questioned my ability to succeed. [Hypnosis] helped me to virtually retrain my mind to think of myself as most capable, smart and successful person. I am no longer afraid to succeed.
The result? After hypnotherapy treatment, he regained his sense of confidence and was able to slow down and focus on his exams. He scored a 96 percent on an exam and was positive he could continue the trend.
On the London College of Clinical Hypnosis’s website, a case study describes how hypnotherapy helped a recently widowed woman with a crippling fear of mice overcome her phobia.
She initially would refer to them as 'm' and it seemed a real struggle for her to say the word. If she did she would speak it very quickly and quietly, and she would also grimace as she did so. Other aspects she found disturbing were pictures of mice. She described a pair of household rubber gloves that apparently had a mouse logo on their packaging, and she also felt uncomfortable with the cartoon mouse 'Jerry' from 'Tom and Jerry'.
During the hypnotherapy treatments — and a combination of regression, hypno-desensitization and other techniques — the therapist helped the woman uncover a link between seeing mice in her home and the passing of her husband.
Over time, they traced her feelings about mice back to her childhood, when she spent time alone in a hospital where mice roamed the halls at night.
Mae didn't remember feeling scared, she saw the mice as 'playmates' and, as she continued to talk, Mae said that she felt a sadness and an overwhelming feeling of loneliness.
… She comforted her 'inner child' who sobbed as she felt so scared and lonely, and Mae hugged and held her tightly. … Although she felt sadness about being left alone in hospital as a small child, this sadness was the sadness of an adult rather than the raw pain and isolation she felt as a child. Mae now felt able to tolerate mice. Although she said that she would never be a great lover of them, they no longer felt so powerful and she felt pleased with that.
In a Harvard clinical study involving hypnotherapy during rehabilitation after a stroke, one patient was a physicist who also had 30 years’ experience playing the cello.
Though he had recovered quite a bit from the stroke, “precise and relaxed” movements were still a struggle.
Because he had significant experience bowing with the arm that was now paralyzed from his stroke, the hypnotherapist focused on visualizations around playing the cello in that precise and relaxed fashion. The researchers were surprised at the result of this therapy, which was not only physical but also emotional:
While the subject found that imagined practice on the cello was enjoyable, actually performing the movements was a significant emotional challenge and he reported a sense of loss and regret when bowing. This turned out to be the first time the subject allowed himself to focus on his cello since having a stroke. The subject chose not to change the task, but rather to spend more time on the imagined practice and to select music that he could bring to logical completion during the short practice intervals. He described the imagined cello practice as a process of emotional expression through story. ‘The music is always the same book but the story is different every time it is played.’
The researchers found that after his hypnotherapy, the physicist had greatly improved. He could pick up cans and form a “precision grip.”
In a Reddit thread dedicated to hypnosis success stories, one particular user’s story stood out.
Having tried traditional psychotherapy many times before, the user decided to try a different approach and visit a hypnotherapist to deal with his depression.
My problems became lemons to be tossed into the distance, salmon to be eaten by bears, soap scum bathtubs needing to be cleaned, beige walls that needed painting. As I worked with the metaphors my unconscious mind delivered up, my conscious mind started to change.
After his second session, the feelings of depression had lifted almost immediately. He was engaging with coworkers, laughing and feeling active once again. Through continued hypnotherapy treatment, the user tackled and overcame other issues such as being on time, staying focused, and working alongside difficult coworkers.
After such profoundly moving and successful hypnotherapy treatment, the Reddit user decided to attend an intensive hypnotherapy workshop and become a practitioner himself.
From childhood regressions to vivid and abstract visualizations, these stories show clearly that each hypnotherapy experience is unique — and that many patients with various needs have found it immensely effective in treating their symptoms.
Now that you’ve heard evidence directly from patients that hypnotherapy can be a highly effective treatment, why not read the stories of fellow practitioners who have added Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy to their list of specialties?
We’ve created a FREE ebook featuring success stories from 23 graduates of our Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy program — download it right here on the Wellness Institute’s website.
Click the banner below to get the book and read their stories.